January 14, 2013

Kevin ONeill Kevin O'Neill is out as USC's head men's basketball coach. (Stephen Dunn, Getty Images)

Kevin O'Neill has been fired as head coach of the University of Southern California's men's basketball program, the school announced Monday morning. The firing comes after the Trojans started the 2012-2013 season in disappointing fashion - the team is currently 7-10 going into Pac-12 play.

O'Neill went 48-65 in four years at USC, a program he took over after being hit with NCAA sanctions for providing improper benefits to former star OJ Mayo. This year was the first in which O'Neill had no loss of scholarships, recruiting time, or postseason to worry about, a point athletic director Pat Haden addressed in the announcement of O'Neill's departure.

"He took over a program under difficult circumstances because of our NCAA issues and, despite that, he was able to do some good things," Haden said in the school's statement. "It was hard for me to evaluate him as a head coach until this year when he had enough players and veterans to compete. As the season progressed, it became evident to me that we needed new leadership in our men's basketball program. Despite a nice road win in our last game, I felt it was best to make a change now, with most of the Pac-12 season still ahead of us, in order to re-energize our team."
Current USC assistant Bob Cantu will serve as interim coach of the team until a replacement is found.

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